Why did you first get involved in credit unions?
I was looking for an apprenticeship where I could get hands on experience and a qualification, when I saw the opportunity with Penny Post. I applied, was accepted, along with my colleague and now close friend Hannah Copson, and the rest is history! I love the credit union ethos and that you see first hand the impact we have on members lives, and that Penny Post support and invest in their employees for the future, to benefit members.
Why did you choose to be part of the YPN Steering Committee?
I was quite surprised when I received an e-mail from Rosanna at ABCUL asking me if I wanted to be a part of the Steering Committee! Since CU Futures, I’ve tried to say yes to every opportunity which I feel I can genuinely learn from and contribute something to. I’ve attended all of the YPN network events, along with some of my colleagues, so I know this is a great way to learn about the hard work involved behind the scenes to make the magic happen. I also know almost everyone on the committee, and everyone was super welcoming on my first Zoom meeting!
Why is the YPN important to you?
I consider myself lucky that my credit union has a mixed age team and supports professional development by allowing us to participate in events and networking sessions. I will always be grateful to our Director, Graham Jones, for his mentoring, and for encouraging me to grasp every opportunity. Not everyone has this support, and therefore the YPN is a unique chance to connect with peers in the sector and get inspired. I remember Paul Norgrove at an early YPN event, saying that networking is so important when starting to build your own support network and for helping each other open doors now and in the future.
What advice would you give to people considering wanting to get involved in the YPN?
I would 100% say go for it! As well as meeting people, you always learn things from the speakers to take back to your credit union. Irrespective of your personality and/or experience level, everyone leaves the YPN having learnt at least one new thing.
If you’re shy, it’s the perfect way to step out of your comfort zone, in a relaxed environment. You learn from other people’s experiences, as I’ve found the more experience you have about a topic, the less shy you are talking about it. At the end of the day, we’re all passionate about what we do and it’s only through mixing at events like these that you come out of your shell and are fully able to participate in the experience.
On the other hand, for confident people, it’s a perfect opportunity to ask questions, network and start growing those connections which will help you in future. I personally always find it nice when you go to an event and know at least one person in the room - as a young person it can be “scary” walking into a room full of professionals you don’t know.
If you attend, take notes! Share what you have learned with everybody at your credit union, at a staff meeting or by circulating a report, to help generate new ideas. This helps your credit union see the value in such events, and you’ll often be allowed to attend more in future, and perhaps open doors for others to attend too. Plus, it is so nice to see changes which have taken place because of something which you have learned and shared with everyone! Remember the old saying “knowledge is power”- well knowledge shared is power multiplied, and as a young professional it’s important to remember that as well as learning and growing ourselves we should be helping others learn and grow too. It makes you much happier and in most cases makes your workplace more efficient too.